MORE THAN COOKIES/ 16 Cherished Favorites

It’s the beginning of a new year, a new decade and year 8 of blogging. Back in 2012, I did not know what a blog was. Taking on the challenge to learn something new, I started this blog and published my first post on Jan 13, 2013. I have made friends within the blogging community and learned codes thanks to my husband, a computer genius. Under my About tab, I explain my two reasons for starting this project. Besides sharing my passion for cookie decorating, my aim was to share with my nephews our family history and my childhood memories of growing up with their Dads. No doubt many of my childhood memories are similar to your own. So with 240 published posts, I’ve chosen 16 of my personal favorite blog stories, some of childhood, others about family and more. Whether you are new to my blog or a long-time subscriber, I hope you will enjoy the read with the aim of bringing your cherished memories to mind.

Thank you for your kindness and support over these years and I hope my little blog has brought some sweetness and joy your way. Happy New Year and best wishes to you and yours for much happiness, success and good health in 2020.

(How a Child Views Watermelon Seeds)

(Scary Nuns and Memorization)

(Summer in New England)

(Love of Ice Cream)

(My Lack of love for Footwear Despite Descending from Bootmakers)

(You Can Go Back!)

DAD at 90
(The First Man I Loved)

(Long Lost Missives)

(Siblings Forever)

(Ancestor Found & Lost) 

(Memories of Mom & Dad)

(Heirlooms Stitched with Love)
(Best Sibs Ever)

(Goodness, Love & Laughter)

(My Favorite Sailor)




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I don’t know about you but December is the fastest month on the calendar. With holiday decorating, shopping, wrapping, baking, it seems there’s never enough days to do it all. This holiday season I do not have time to decorate cookies for the blog so I whipped up a very easy holiday dessert. This is a time saver and sure to be a hit. After all, who doesn’t like chocolate!

This White Chocolate Bark is made with peanuts, semi-sweet chocolate chips and dried cranberries but can be made with any kind of nuts, dried fruit and chocolate. I prefer cutting the bark with a knife but it can also be broken apart. I was generous with the toppings but I found that too much can make it a challenge to cut. The next time I’ll go with the ‘less is more’ method and sparsely sprinkle the toppings to allow for easy, clean cuts through the chocolate.

You can see plenty of my decorated holiday cookies from previous years which are displayed in the right margin and the Index page.

White Chocolate Bark
1 lb White Chocolate (chopped) or Wilton White Chocolate Melts
1/2 cup Peanuts
1/2 cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 cup Nestle’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
[This recipe is Ina Garten's White Chocolate Bark at the Food Network]

Melt two-thirds of the chocolate in a heat-proof glass bowl in the microwave on high for 30 seconds. Continue to heat chocolate and stir with rubber spatula in 30-second intervals until the chocolate is just melted. Immediately stir in the remaining chocolate until completely smooth. 

Pour chocolate onto the parchment paper and spread to an 8 x 10 rectangle. 

Sprinkle evenly with the peanuts, cranberries, and chocolate chips quickly before the chocolate sets. Press lightly with offset spatula to set toppings into the chocolate. Set aside for at least 2 hours until firm. Cut or break the bark. Makes about 16 pieces.
Hint: Stirring chocolate with a rubber spatula keeps the chocolate shiny.

 I also made a Milk Chocolate Bark in festive holiday colors with M&M’s and peanuts. 



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High School … sports, studies, dances, pep rallies, crushes, boys … fun days which reside in our teen memories. During my years in high school there was a special guy who often occupied my thoughts, was in my nightly prayers and whom I never met. His name is Bob … Maj. Robert D. Jeffrey, a pilot in the U.S. Air Force. I wore his P.O.W. bracelet during my first three years of high school as a constant reminder of our boys held prisoner and away from home. This was decades before the era of Livestrong, 4Ocean bracelets and the like. I did not remove my bracelet until our Vietnam P.O.W.s returned home in February 1973.

I requested Maj. Jeffrey’s bracelet because he was the son of my Dad’s co-worker. I first heard about Bob’s captivity when I was in the 3rd grade. He had been in Vietnam only three days and on his first mission, he was shot down over North Vietnam on December 20, 1965. He was 26, married with a baby son. Bob was held for more than 7 years in the infamous Hanoi Hilton P.O.W. camp. The Vietcong ignored the laws of the Geneva Convention and brutally tortured the American P.O.W.s. The conditions were unbearable but somehow these brave men endured their time in captivity. Bob was held with notable prisoners such as James Stockdale, a hero among the men who kept up their morale and Jerry Denton, who blinked Morse Code spelling out torture to the television cameras, alerting the world of the inhumane treatment of our boys. Bob’s wife led a group of wives meeting with several North Vietnamese delegations over the years which eventually resulted in better treatment of the P.O.W.s.

After the war, Bob was promoted, awarded the Silver Cross and continued to serve in the Air Force until 1980. He still flies airplanes and resides in Arizona. To this day, I have never met Bob and still have his bracelet reverently displayed in a shadow box since the date of his return in 1973.

These butterfly cookies were decorated using my favorite technique of marbling. A light dusting of white on the finished cookie gives an elegant matte look. 

Butterfly Cookies
Butterfly Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted with AmeriColor Super White
Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted Teal with AmeriColor Teal
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Wilton Decorating Tip #2
PME Decorating Tip #1.5
Scribe Tool or Toothpick
CK Luster Dust (Silk White)

Outline cookie with #2 tip in white icing.

Flood cookie with white icing.

 Pipe dots with teal flood icing with #1.5 tip.

Using a scribe tool swirl the icing to create marble design. Let dry 45 minutes
 Outline cookie with #2 tip in teal icing. Pipe center of butterfly with teal outline icing. Let dry overnight.

Using paintbrush, apply luster dust onto cookie. Let dry 15 minutes.



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